When You Need to Recharge

“Powdery shades of blues, greys, whites stretch across a softly glowing sky. Moss drips from the river-fed trees hovering over the calm waters. Squirrels, geese, vultures, crickets and cicadas declare the day’s end and the arrival of the night. Families stroll with no hurry to destination, for, it’s summer. Conversations, laughter, gracious touches. The hustle dies. The stress is put away–forgotten for a few months. Now we really see those sunsets. We slow to enjoy the watermelon-drenched chins and the gentle descent of the sunlight. It’s a warming of body, mind and spirit.”

I had to pause to sense that all. I needed to get away to see it, feel it, smell it, experience it. I love life with my people. That handsome man of mine and our beautiful children. But just over a year ago, I learned something about myself. In order for me to recharge, a few hours alone here and there wasn’t going to cut it. It took me nearly that entire time just to stop thinking about everything I needed to get done. To leave home behind. So we decided I’d take fewer but longer trips away. By myself. To sleep, read, write, rest, be quiet. Do whatever I needed to do to come back and love my tribe well.

There’s this new term of “self-care” going around. I haven’t read a lot about it, but it seems to be this idea of caring for oneself well so we can care for others. I’m totally on board with that. I see the importance of taking care of our bodies, minds, and spirits. Not neglecting it as we care for those around us. My breaks are really that in essence. But I also feel this idea of “self-care” is being used in a way to justify indulgence. I “deserve” a massage, pedicure, shopping spree, vacation….I “need” this to be the best mom/friend/wife/employee. And that’s where I’d totally disagree. A dear friend of mine pointed out how much Jesus gave and gave and gave. We know through the Bible that He did take the time to rest and be restored. But Jesus recharged by drawing away and spending time with His Father.

If you are burnt out. If you are weary. If you are overwhelmed with life, the most fulfilling thing you can do is be in the presence of your Almighty Creator. Read His word. Be with His people. Pray. Meditate on truth. Take your focus back to the eternal. He alone can give you living water. He alone can satisfy your weary soul. Maybe you need to get away to do that, in some form or fashion. And if there happens to be an opportunity to save up and get your nails done, praise God for that. But remember, He, Himself, is more than enough. More than enough.

All that said, I thought I’d take you on a little walk through what my breaks look like. These times away are precious to me. Your restoration might not look like mine. But I’d encourage you to discover what best refreshes you.


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I wanted to be immersed in nature. Art at its most glorious. This was the view from my balcony. We had a free hotel stay, and I was so thankful to use it. The trees, the water, the blue skies and white clouds, birds singing.

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A place to read and write. I prepared my lesson for Sunday, journaled, continued reading in a couple of books, and walked through a devotional study here.

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I watched every minute of that sunset. Just me and a park bench. I read and wrote a little, but I mostly just watched and listened. Ducks, geese, cicadas, crickets, deer, children, live music.

Candles. Smells really impact my time. I purchased some soy candles with essential oils and enjoyed the feeling of home away from home.

Order. My days feel chaotic most of the time. I slowed to unpack, even though I was only staying a night. I hung up clothing, set out my shoes, put away my other items in drawers.

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Rather than sleeping in, I set my alarm for before the sunrise. Even though it was cloudy, I was up to witness it. I found a small diner in town that was cheap and delicious. I greatly enjoyed the conversations I had with the owner and my waitress. For lunch, I found a cozy Italian deli that was bright and inviting and had a view to the outside patio area. I ate slowly and enjoyed every bite.

I wrapped up my time journaling to my kids while drinking a rich and steamy cup of coffee. It was all pretty perfect, actually. God paved the way, and my husband helped it happen.

I didn’t “need” any of this. God has been so faithful to help me thrive right smack in the middle of crazy and hard and mundane. But I sure will praise Him for providing it. And I hope I look more like Him as a result of soaking up His creation, His people, and His presence.

I’m Done Chasing

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I push the home button twice, then the passcode to unlock. I click on the email app for the fifth time in the past 15 minutes. Nothing new. Click home again. Then Facebook. Just a party invite and page update. I close my phone.

Browse through my recent photos. Anything worth posting?

I walk to the pantry. Mmm dark chocolate. Then the fridge. Iced coffee? Ooooh that’d be fun.

I see the Bible opened on my counter. I glance over at it. “…he will quiet you by His love.”

I pick up my phone. I’ll check on my sisters. Message an acquaintance I dreamed about last night. Thank a friend for her card in the mail.

Dinner. Ugh, nothing sounds good. I’ve got to find some new recipes. I love cooking. But it takes so much effort to find something everyone can eat and will eat. Maybe we’ll go out some place I like. Ugh. Eating out budget is gone. But this is desperate. I can’t handle being home anymore. Maybe I’ll just splurge.

Pick up my phone again. “Free kids meals in Austin.”


It’s constant. The now is never enough. My heart is always beating quickly. Always looking to the next big thing. A fun meal, a new piece of clothing, a way to serve, a sweet card, a new outing, a surprise phone call, an encouraging word, a fancy drink…

It’s never enough.

And I’m worn out.

“…he will quiet you by His love.”

Oh, Jesus, I need that quieting. I long to be satisfied with what you have given me. So freely. So lasting. So much deeper than all this I’m chasing after. I want you to be enough. I’m tired of chasing. I’m weary of overspending and overeating and overphoning to satiate my soul.

“Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.”


Are you weary, too, friend? Do you consistently busy yourself, looking for the next thing that might satisfy? If it’s not God, it will never last. If it’s not His grace, it will never set you free. If it’s not His love, it will always disappoint.

So what do we do then? Where do we go from here?

We start by running to the cross. Laying this discontentment before Him. Asking, pleading, that we might see His presence as enough.

And then we choose. We choose time with Him. Time in His word. And we choose in grace. Knowing we’ll mess up. Knowing we’ll run back into the arms of the cheap lovers that promise fulfillment. But also knowing that when we return to our Father in true repentance, He will receive us back with open arms.

Will you give up the chase with me today? I want to be done. And I want my Jesus.

When You Can’t Fix. Walk.

I watch the anger boiling in him. The hurt and fear in his eyes. He can’t contain the rage. He doesn’t even know why he does it in the moment.

“It feels good, Mom. I like hurting people right then. And then I feel bad.”

Tears stream down his face.

I don’t remember struggling with anger until college. It seemed to come out of nowhere then. It had always scared me in other people. Like they couldn’t control themselves. I could almost always find the good, even in the seemingly terrible. I could overcome my thoughts so my feelings didn’t explode. But then, my sophomore year of college came. And this person coming out of me was wretched. I wasn’t that perfect Christian anymore. I felt out of control and completely helpless.

That’s when I really learned about grace. It was the first time I bone-deep knew I needed a Savior. I needed Him to rescue me from me. He had. He did.

“O, Baby. I know that struggle. Sin feels good in the moment. Seems so enjoyable. But it separates us from God. I’m thankful you feel bad about it afterward. That’s God grace. He loves you so much. He can forgive you and help you overcome this sin by the blood of Jesus and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.”

I reach my end with him. I see my rage coming out in response to his violent temper. I see the victims. My gut reaction is to care more about correcting his actions than caring for his heart. For so long, I thought if I would make sure to do a, b and c as a parent, I would produce children who loved to obey. Who immediately saw the error of their ways and never messed up in that area again. So when I did those things, and my kids still struggled, struggled big time, of course I had to question where I went wrong. I need to give them more time, more affection. I need to be more intentional about walking through the Bible with them and responding to every mistake with Scripture. I need to gently respond and shepherd their hearts and cut out sugar and cover them in oils and…………

I can’t fix him.

With each new day of parenting comes this realization. I can’t fix my children. Just because I do a, b and c and totally rock at it does not mean my kids will be better. And, praise God, just because I totally suck at parenting does not mean my kids will grow up to be immersed in sin and despise their Creator.

It’s all about walking with them.

Through the punches and tantrums and “I hate you’s”. Through the lies and piles of candy wrappers and permanent marker on the bedspread. Through the anger and rage and violence.

Walking with them. All the while, showing them I need a Savior just as much as they do. He’s my hope. His grace is what saved me from me.

Tomorrow might be just as tough as today. I pray fervently that my son might experience the freedom I know and I have found. But I’m trusting God’s timing. I’m trusting the story He’s penning. That boy hears the gospel more often than anyone else I know. I can’t open his eyes. I can’t take away his anger. I can’t fix his heart. Oh, but my God can. Hand in hand, walking with my son every step of the way.

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Ode to 303 E. Kolstad

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We moved in this home as a family of six more than thrilled to each have a space.

There were four flights of stairs, a parlor with chairs, porch swings and dining room lace.

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My excitement, it grew, with the attic anew, my corner room and a landing to rest.

We’d peer out that glass, watch the neighbors that’d pass, as we pretended to be fancy in jest.

 

One year brought a brother, our Caleb none other, and with him came joy and delight.

We’d sing him his songs and throw footballs out long, chase him and squeeze him tight.

 

Summers were splattered wIMG_3674ith pool time and chatter, fire flies and parties and fun.

Late nights of giggles, performances, popsicles, girlfriends and Herschel’s and sun.

 

 

Then school days would come, but the party not done, boys would “wrap” us as we watched them with glee.

Week nights we studied, dance practice with buddies, and cheer jumps perfected by D.

 

Rocks on our windows, first kisses, Nintendo, Jessie and Kelly and Zack.

IMG_3576Pies to our neighbors, baby Jesus in the manger, birthday parties and adventures out back.

There were tears on the stairs, the curling of hair, glitter spray, makeup and phone calls.

ICQ in the nights, picnic blankets and kites, lip syncs while dishes stacked the walls.

 

Of course there was hard, the hormones they starred, and life wasn’t always this pretty.

But I’ll glory in the laughter, in the hugs that came after the fights and the harsh with no pity.IMG_3563

 

303 may have changed, but the memories remain, and they’ll linger forever in our hearts.

So to you, Old Sweet Blue, we celebrate you and say thanks for the years of our start.

 

*Photos courtesy of AlexM Photography

Beautified

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I’m at a stage of life where many of us ladies are beginning to see and feel the effects of age for the first time–wrinkles are forming, fat is harder to burn, the mind is harder to stimulate. My social media is clouded with makeup and skin care regimens and nutrition plans and anti-aging. Of course I’d love to look and feel 20 again. But the amount of money and time that this will take is overwhelming and out of reach. And even if I could attain to this, it just simply will not last.

But Paul gives me something my heart can grab onto when he’s instructing Timothy:

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[9] likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, [10] but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. (ESV)

There’s a shift here that Paul is referring to. The focus of the heart moves from outward beauty to that of good works. He’s not knocking being adorned. Rather, he’s calling women to adorn themselves in a way that brings attention and glory to God rather than themselves.

So, good works. How exactly can we be beautified by good works?

Jump over to Hebrews 10:19-25. Read it. Yep, grab an actual Bible or look it up online. Two things we can see here that aide us in the beautification process: 1) belief and 2) healthy, biblical community.

Sisters, when you have confidence that Jesus has covered you with His blood. When you know He has made a way for you to get to God. When you believe Jesus is your faithful High Priest who has once and for all made atonement for your sins. When you can draw near will complete assurance of faith that YOU ARE CLEAN!! You have a hope that doesn’t waver. That belief wells up within and causes you to live out in love–in good deeds! The Holy Spirit bubbles over into all those you come in contact with. You can’t contain the goodness! It beautifies us within and without. And our concern is no longer what people behold us to be, but what God beholds us as now and forever more. Beloved, Adopted, Free.

And there are times, even after belief, that we will question and we will doubt. And that’s where our people come in. Sisters and brothers that will remind us that we have been chosen and redeemed. A family that meets together, that encourages and stirs up. Those people that help us see what living out the gospel really looks like. A heart-friend who knows you’re in a pit and points you back to God’s word and tells you not to lose heart–stand firm. She fights for you in prayer. She stands alongside you to war toward victory.

Belief and Community. Ever think of those for your beauty regimen?

Maybe you have reached that stage, too. How’s your heart? Do you know that Christ has made a way for you to have a relationship with our Almighty Creator God? Do you believe you have been chosen, bought, set free? Are you actively engaging with a healthy church body that speaks truth and life into you? Money can only buy so much. We will all age, whether we appear to be or not. I’m not suggesting it’s wrong to take care of ourselves or dress up or want to look feminine. But will you adorn yourself only with things that will fade? Or will you pursue a lasting beauty with me? A heart, a countenance, that reveals she is adored and lives out in good deeds as an overflow of what has been done in and for her?

To the glory of God alone.

 


Ideas for this post were derived from my study through “Biblical Womanhood” by Sarah Collins. I highly recommend this material for all those seeking to know what the Bible says about being a woman.

Free Write: To Be Bold

Free writing. Putting on paper whatever comes to mind continuously over a short period of time. I did this often in years past. A tool to help develop the skill of writing and communicating. Love it. Even if you don’t enjoy writing, just getting heart thoughts onto paper can be a balm to the soul.

I’ve been in such a funk lately. So many ideas clouding my mind throughout the day, but I just can’t seem to communicate them clearly, effectively. And there’s just so much to be done in one day.

I’ve started waking at 5:30. Just to sit in the silence before the kids wake up minutes later. But at least I’m up first and preparing my mind and heart to embrace our days now rather than begrudgingly falling into them.

But, free writing. I decided to pick this up again during school time while I’m waiting for the kids to complete an assignment to review. Kind of like Mom school time. I would love if some of my readers would do this with me, too. Five minutes. No stopping. Write whatever comes to mind. No editing. Add a simple title. Post it below. Should be fun!


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To Be Bold 3/7/17

Boldness. That’s what I most want to pursue and grow in. I’m a weenie when it comes to speaking out about things I believe in. Mouth shut. Brains turns off. Fear? Is that what sweeps in? I’m reading about all these amazing women who didn’t let questions or concerns or fear block them from boldly pursuing that which mattered most to them. Can I be like that? Can I overcome whatever it is that is keeping me from living courageously?

Blues, yellows and greens. Colors speak truths. Symbolize deeper things. Colors are bold. Could I be colors? Can I learn from art? Art isn’t ashamed. It doesn’t allow the opinion of others to determine its outcome. Path. Direction.

His smile breaks me. Can I? Can I get that game, please?

I’m tired. My eyes get heavy all the time. Caffeine just makes my heart beat faster. Sure would be nice to have real energy. To exercise. To play chase.

Whatever comes to my mind. I just keep writing.

The wind is so strong today. The cold pierces through my skin and into my bones. Fierce. Maybe I should be like the wind. Strong. Persistent. Powerful.

Feeble. I like that word. Today we spoke about a feeble light slowly creeping up through the darkness. The poet patiently awaited when that feeble light would turn into a full day-breaking. There’s power in the feeble. There’s faith there. In that moment.

Colors. I think it’s one of my favorite cards Nathan has ever gifted me. It had several brush strokes of various water colors. They all blended so beautifully. But each stroke was bold.

Three. Three more minutes.

I’m so worn out on all the bickering from my children over video games. So worn out. I would LOVE to remove all screens, all video games, all devices. And just enjoy using our imaginations. Reading. Exploring nature. Getting rid of every toy. Oh, joyous glory. Can I even say that? Joyous glory?

One more minute.

Mama. Eyes heavy. Can I take a nap?

Ten Lessons from Ten Years of Marriage

Because I know you’re all dying to hear the bounty of wisdom I have to pass on after doing this for SO long. But, really, I have learned some things. At least ten.

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  1. I know much less than I thought I knew ten years ago. Period. Admitted.
  2. Little conflicts over toothpaste and dishes and toilet paper aren’t the real issue. It’s worth it to dig a little deeper and see what’s at the heart of it all.
  3. Lack of laughter over time is a warning sign that something isn’t right.
  4. Sex is holy and important. You’ve got to talk about it often. Make it a priority. You’ve got to work through pasts, fears, struggles together. Putting this area on the back burner will disable a marriage from thriving.
  5. Less words and more listening. Less words and more listening. Less words and more listening.
  6. Kids can tear apart a marriage. But they can also be a huge strengthening agent. A lot depends on the priority you give your spouse. It’s worth it to be intentional about dating and pursuing one another. Our kids need that. We need that.
  7. No marriage is text book. Books are helpful, but each couple has to figure beardfacelaughout what works for them.
  8. We need God’s word. We need His people. We weren’t created to do this alone. Our healthiest seasons have come when we sought counsel, community, and care from the Body and when we submitted to the truths of His precepts.
  9. Love is more fun with pops on the rear end, kisses with kids crawling between your legs while saying “ewwww”, and vaseline on the door handle. (And soap on the toothbrush, rice chex in the shoes, oatmeal in the shower…gosh that was fun).
  10. Ten years isn’t a long time. But it’s a big milestone. It’s the grace of God. It’s forgiveness and illness and tears and belly laughs and miles traveled around the world. It’s four kids and wrinkles and little sleep. It’s less of me and more of Christ. And I’d say that’s a pretty beautiful ten with wild dreams of what could lie ahead.